Your doctor will recommend a biopsy in order to examine breast tissue or cells that may be abnormal. In a biopsy, a small piece of breast tissue is removed and examined for signs of cancer. Please remember that 85 percent of all breast lumps are non-cancerous. If your doctor is recommending a biopsy, it does not mean he or she is certain it is breast cancer-most biopsies come back negative for breast cancer. Learn more about breast cancer.
Minimally invasive breast cancer biopsies
At MedStar Franklin Square, we strive to perform all breast biopsies in a minimally invasive fashion, reducing risk of infection, recovery time and scarring. Your doctor will discuss each biopsy with you and if you are a good candidate for a minimally invasive breast biopsy.
On this page, we describe different types of breast biopsies:
Ultrasound-guided biopsy of the breast uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the breast. Your doctor will use this image to guide the procedure. This type of breast biopsy can investigate suspicious findings after a physical examination or mammogram.
What to expect
- An ultrasound-guided biopsy is minimally invasive, which means that as little of the breast tissue is removed as possible through a skin incision less than a quarter inch long.
- You are fully awake and on your back during the procedure.
- Your doctor numbs the breast with local anesthetic and uses ultrasound technology in order to guide a hollow needle to the site of the tumor or mass.
- Several samples of breast tissue are removed and later analyzed by a breast pathologist, who can determine if the cells show signs of cancer
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or have other medical conditions prior to having an ultrasound-guided biopsy. Discomfort or temporary bruising or swelling because of this procedure can be relieved with cold packs and over-the-counter pain relievers.
Read an article from our health library about breast biopsies.
Stereotactic biopsy of the breast uses radiation (X-rays) in order to direct your doctor where to remove tissue for examination. This procedure is frequently used when a small growth in the breast or calcifications are seen in a mammogram and need to be investigated further. (Calcifications are points of calcium build-up in the breast. If many irregularly shaped or sized calcifications are bunched together, it may indicate cancer.)
What to expect
- Stereotactic biopsy is minimally invasive, which means that your doctor will use a hollow needle passed through a small (<1/4" long) incision to remove pieces of breast tissue from the abnormal area. You will be fully awake during the procedure, and the breast will be numbed using a local anesthetic. Stereotactic biopsy is usually done from underneath, so you will lie face down on a special examination table with openings to allow the breast to hang through.
- A mammography machine finds the exact point for biopsy using X-rays and computerized calculations. Using this technology, your doctor will insert a hollow needle through the skin, move it directly to the abnormality and remove several samples of breast tissue.
Tell your doctor if you are or suspect that you are pregnant; pregnant women should minimize their exposure to X-rays. Discomfort or temporary bruising or swelling can be relieved with cold packs and over-the-counter pain relievers.
To make an appointment, or find out more about The Breast Center, please call 443-777-6500.